Beads of water dripped from her eyebrow, but she didn’t bother wiping them away. There was no time for that. Amidst the downpour, we could all sense the power building. While the scoreline bore little importance, there was too much on the line. Pride. Points. Possibility.
The rain slammed down from above, but the crowd’s energy was the only electricity striking. Every build-up, a jolt of lightning aching to erupt. There were only a thousand faces, a thousand voices, left in the tattered stadium, but they would all be heard that night.
The minutes wound down and now it felt like just seconds were left. Was it too late?
No, there was still time for a little magic. With the fire of a dragon, her teammate sped into the box — pushing her tired body further than anyone could imagine.
It came softly off her foot, like the world’s most beautifully whispered poem. Looping in the rain-soaked sky, a hush fell across the stadium.
Thud. Her head connected with the ball. Swish. It sunk into the back of the net. Boom. The cheers erupted as if they came at once from the gods — as if they were the collective scream of thousands.
It was that night, more than two-and-a-half years ago, that Jess Fishlock leveled the match in the waning seconds — keeping Seattle Reign FC’s two-year undefeated streak at Memorial Stadium alive. The point wasn’t needed. The NWSL Shield had already been won for Seattle well before the match kicked off, but that moment is sewn into the consciousness of fans who remained in the stadium to witness it. That moment was Seattle Reign: playing every match as if it might be their last.
A reminder of the beautiful game. Of Seattle’s soccer legends. Of the legacy Reign FC was building.
In less than a week, Seattle Reign FC returns to Memorial Stadium—hoping to find that spark again.
In many ways, it feels less like a return and more like starting anew. Vlatko Andonovski, the coach who broke Reign fans’ hearts two years in a row, holds the reins now as Seattle’s head coach. Just five players from the team that stepped onto the field on August 29, 2015 — the night that Fishlock equalized at the death — remain with the club. Allie Long is no longer with the enemy; she traded in thorns for a crown.
Still, I can’t help but return to that moment, that goal, and feel like it perfectly captures what this year’s Seattle Reign team could represent. While most women’s soccer writers are mixed on whether Seattle will make the playoffs this year, I feel more optimistic than ever. Andonovski is arguably the most technically gifted coach in the league — and he’s now on our side. Fishlock already picked up another championship with Melbourne City, but she’s selfish. She wants more.
Megan Rapinoe seems to be aging in reverse and looked just as spunky as she did in 2017 in her matches with the U.S. national team to start off 2018. Newcomers Theresa Nielsen and Steph Catley are coming off of career seasons — pushing their countries higher than they’ve ever been.
Maddie Bauer and Kristen McNabb are no longer rookies. They’re players pushing for playing time and starting roles. And while Boston broke our hearts when it folded just months before the season, Megan Oyster, Christen Westphal, Morgan Andrews, and Elizabeth Addo now hope to write a new future in Seattle.
Each name is just that. A name. But together, they are talents who could create another truly special season in Seattle. And you have the chance to be part of it—from the beginning.
On March 24 at 7 p.m., Seattle Reign FC kicks off another NWSL season. Their opponent is the Washington Spirit, but this isn’t about their competition. It’s about Seattle. Soccer has become a fabric woven into the Seattle sports community. Matchday at CenturyLink Field is electric. The Boom, Boom, Clap can be felt throughout the Sound.
The beautiful game has taken Seattle to back-to-back MLS Cups, and we were fortunate enough to feel the sweet taste of victory in one of those. Let’s bring another championship trophy to Seattle.
Reign FC already has two NWSL Shields to their name. It’s time to take home the final prize, the NWSL Championship. But to do that, they’ll need the entire soccer community behind them.
Haven’t been to a Reign FC match? Sure, the stadium is old. It can be hard to get to for many. The beer is a little non-existent. But the product that has been on display for four seasons set the tone for women’s soccer in America. Technical. Tactical. Teeming with talent. For 90 minutes, it is just you — mere feet from the field — following as the ball and the players move seamlessly up and down the pitch, captivating your attention.
For every tackle Cristian Roldan evades, Jess Fishlock pushes her way through the midfield with the heart of a dragon. For every stunning spin on a Clint Dempsey free kick goal, Megan Rapinoe puts in an arching beauty of her own. And a perfectly weighted Nicolas Lodeiro pass is perfectly matched by Naho Kawasumi, who boasts one of the best crosses in the game. Our Sunshine Assassin, Bev Yanez, sneaks into the box with a smile — stealing a goal off a rebound just like Will Bruin.
Seattle soccer. Pure. Made for you. For me. For all of us.
There’s no Sounders match on March 24. So join us at Memorial. Set the tone for how we support soccer in Seattle — our men, our emerging talent, and our women. It is time to fill the stands.
Seattle, let’s Reign down together. First up: Washington. Next up: the Cup.